I, in my own determined and peculiar ways, to certain approximate
and exact degrees, don't think much about life. I am, however,
never sure if this conclusion is without some blemish, some
residue, however faint; an ounce of madness. To certain
inconclusive degrees, it is clear that some of my disappointments
awaited me, gathering rust, years before I was born. I have reason
to suspect you will find this tale unusual, but not without beauty.
Threads of a spider's web perhaps, to be unwound, cautiously, a
thread at a time. *** This is the story of a dreamer, 'an average
man, ' singled out by fate for an uncertain life. Jailed for 18
years under apartheid for unspecified sins, he emerges into a world
that has no place for him. His fluctuating fortunes land him on the
unpredictable, bitter-winter streets of Johannesburg, where
'harmlessness' is an 'unfortunate trait, ' but tempestuous skylines
offer space to breathe. A trumpet and an indigent dog are his
accomplices in survival. But, it is his obsessive love for the
erratic, hard-hearted Desiree that remains the one constant in his
life and impels his search for the elusive meaning of existence.
Through his protagonist - the trumpet-playing philosopher poet -
author Nthikeng Mohlele weaves unique magic with words, posing
powerful questions in his inimitably individualistic and evocative
style. *** Behind this story of love, music and the eternal quest,
lies an artistic sensibility as generous as it is complex. The
prose is rich in texture, the final effect melancholy and comic in
equal proportions. -- J.M. Coetzee, recipient of the 2003 Nobel
Prize in Literature and two-time winner of the Booker Pri
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